Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Topics

Harold Hamm in April 2012 at TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World gala in New York City

Harold Hamm: From Gas Station Pump Attendant to Major Political Player

Background

Jemal Countess / Getty Images for TIME

Harold Hamm in April 2012 at TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World gala in New York City

Harold Hamm is an influential billionaire who made his fortune in Oklahoma’s oil and gas fields.

He’s founder, Chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources. He’s also the No. 35 richest person in America, according to Forbes, which estimated his net worth at around $9.7 billion.

Background

Hamm is the son of a sharecropper, the youngest of 13, and was raised in a spartan household in rural Oklahoma. His first job was at a gas station, and he was captivated by the booming oil industry in 1960s Oklahoma.

Hamm started “right at the bottom,” MoneyWeek’s Jody Clarke writes: “cleaning tanks for a contractor.” Hamm slowly worked his way up. He bought a truck and started servicing rigs. Later, he started buying land and drilling “wildcat wells.”

Driller, Donator

In March, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Hamm to be his chief energy adviser. In the months since, Hamm has helped draft an energy platform that would give states more control over drilling and mining and open up more federal land to oil and gas exploration and drilling.

In September, Hamm addressed a committee of Washington, D.C. lawmakers, and defended billions in tax breaks for oil and gas companies .

Hamm is also a big philanthropist — hospitals and schools — and he’s a major political donor. He’s one of the top donors to Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Romney, reports the Wall Street Journal. Hamm exceeded federal limits on campaign donations this year, but said it was inadvertent:

Mike Cantrell, Continental’s vice president of government affairs, said Mr. Hamm wrote checks for the contributions from a joint-checking account he shares with his wife, Sue Ann Hamm, with the intention of making equal contributions from the couple. But Mr. Hamm failed to make it clear that half the donations should have come from himself, and half from his wife, Mr. Cantrell said.

Latest Posts

Three of Oklahoma’s Largest Oil Companies’ Plan for How the State Should Tax Them

An Oklahoma pump jack.

Executives at Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources and Devon Energy have proposed a plan for Oklahoma’s taxes on oil and natural gas production. The proposal comes as legislators are debating state oil and gas taxes, which include an incentive for horizontal drilling that expires next year. The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports: The newest proposal would change [...]

Oil Billionaire Harold Hamm to Lead AG Pruitt’s Re-Election Campaign

Harold Hamm

Oil billionaire Harold Hamm, the CEO and Chairman of Oklahoma energy giant Continental Resources has been tapped to lead state Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s re-election campaign. The Associated Press reports: Pruitt described Hamm as a “dedicated businessman, visionary, and icon here in Oklahoma.” Hamm is no stranger to politics. He’s a major Republican donor, and [...]

Why Oklahoma Oil Billionaire Harold Hamm Switched Sides on the Keystone XL Pipeline

President Barack Obama speaking to supporters in a pipe yard in Cushing, Okla., where the Keystone XL Pipeline connects on its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a key part of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, which Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm is helping craft as chief energy adviser. But only three years ago, Hamm — chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources — used to be “one of the most effective” opponents of the pipeline project, [...]

Six Okies on Forbes List of Richest Americans

The Forbes 400 list of “The Richest People in America” includes six Oklahomans currently living in the state. Half the wealthy Oklahomans made their money directly from the oil and natural gas industry; the other half are connected to large retail businesses.

Oil Billionaire Harold Hamm on Federal Tax Incentives: ‘No One Sent Me a Check’

Harold Hamm, CEO of Oklahoma's Continental Resources, is chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign energy advisory committee.

Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm visited Washington, D.C. on Thursday to defend oil and gas industry tax incentives and to urge lawmakers to open more federally owned land for drilling. Hamm, CEO and Chairman of Oklahoma oil giant Continental Resources and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s chief energy adviser, also took issue with the underlying cause of President [...]

Romney’s Energy Policy: Written by Oklahoma, for Energy States like Oklahoma

Harold Hamm, CEO of Oklahoma's Continental Resources, is chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign energy advisory committee.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday detailed an energy policy that would give states more control over drilling and mining on government lands. Romney’s plan would end a century of federal control of drilling and mining on government land, reports the New York Times, a move likely to appease energy states with big [...]

Mitt Romney’s New Energy Adviser is an Oklahoma Oil Billionaire

Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm has been appointed energy adviser to Republican primary front-runner Mitt Romney. Hamm is the founder and CEO of Enid-based Continental Resources Inc., and was ranked 36th on Forbes magazine’s list of 400 wealthiest Americans. His 68 percent stake in Continental is valued at $11.2 billion, reports Bloomberg News.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education